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SOLAS. Supporting Education Progression F2 Centre, Rialto, Dublin. SOLAS and ETBs. Policy context SOLAS – process to date Challenges Future direction …. Policy Drivers of change. Economic and fiscal conditions since 2008 Links between education and training

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Supporting Education Progression

F2 Centre, Rialto, Dublin

solas and etbs
  • Policy context
  • SOLAS – process to date
  • Challenges
  • Future direction …
policy drivers of change
Policy Drivers of change
  • Economic and fiscal conditions since 2008
  • Links between education and training
  • Public sector reform and modernisation
  • National Economic and Social Council (NESC) (August 2011)

‘Supports and Services for Unemployed Jobseekers:

Challenges and Opportunities in a Time of Recession’

  • Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) (2011)

‘Monitoring Ireland’s Skills Supply 2011 Trends in Education

and Training Outputs’ (2011)

‘Tomorrow’s skills: Towards a National Skills Strategy’ (2007)

  • Dept. of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (2012)

‘2012 Action Plan for Jobs’

  • Dept. of Social Protection (2012)

‘Pathways to Work Initiative’ (February 2012)

  • Forfás (February 2012)

‘Guidelines for the Alignment of Further Education

Programmes with Skills Needs of Enterprise’

  • DES Adult Literacy Guidelines (2012)
  • DES Community Education Guidelines (2012)
solas process to date
SOLAS – process to date
  • July 2011- announcement of SOLAS
  • Recognition and establishment of Further Education and Training (FET) sector
  • Responsible for coordination and funding of FET
  • Integrated FET system of education and training
  • Value for Money (VFM) Reports & National Skills Strategy - 21st Century economy and labour market needs
  • Under aegis of DES
  • Ensure provision of quality FET to jobseekers & other learners
  • Priority: unemployed and upskilling
  • SOLAS Implementation Group (SIG)
etbs process to date
ETBs – process to date
  • October 2010: proposal to amalgamate 33 VECs to 16 Education and Training Boards
  • June 2011: revised configuration of proposed ETBs
  • October 2011: locations of headquarters and sub-offices
  • August 2012: Designate CEOs appointed
  • Education and Training Bill 2012 – before Dáil …

- repeal nine pieces of legislation

- enhanced functions for ETBs

- ETBs to be responsible for training

  • Separate SOLAS legislation

‘…marrying two different cultures – the VEC and FÁS – takes time and adjustment. But both sectors will benefit enormously from the establishment of SOLAS which will provide the necessary enhanced coordination and oversight arrangements.’

‘VECs will retain the flexibility they have displayed in creating so many innovative further education courses for Leaving Certificate students and adults.’

‘SOLAS will provide funding to ETBs through annual service level arrangements. This is not a question of subordination of VECs to SOLAS – course delivery decisions will result from discussions between ETBs and SOLAS, bearing in mind national and local needs.’

‘ETBs will ultimately have responsibility for contracted provision…’

Minister Quinn’s address to IVEA, Thursday 22nd March 2012

structures for implementation
Structures for Implementation
  • SOLAS Implementation Group (SIG)

Chaired by Minister Cannon


  • Technical Advisory Group (DES/IVEA/FÁS)

(Curriculum Development, Quality Assurance, ICT/MIS, Communications, Research, Finance)

  • IVEA/FÁS - Senior Teams
  • Pilots: City of Dublin VEC, City of Cork VEC
consultation process key policy areas
Consultation Process – Key Policy Areas
  • How should FET be managed, funded and administered?
  • How should the courses to be delivered be decided?
  • How should existing and potential learners be guided and supported in making their choices?
  • How should staff be managed and supported?
consultation process feedback
Consultation Process - feedback
  • Learner centred
  • Consultation and communication with learners
  • Central role of guidance
  • Modern Management Information Systems
  • Focused research and development function
  • Staff qualifications - Continuous Professional Development
challenges for fe sector
Challenges for FE sector
  • Need to align provision to meet national skills needs i.e. supply side measures
  • Need to engage across sectors and occupations i.e. demand side measures
  • Changing nature of skills requirements – ‘churn’
  • Shift from ‘employment for life’ to ‘employability for life’
  • Improved quality of survey and evaluative data
  • Quality and progression potential of programmes
  • Ensure accredited outcomes for people with low levels of initial education
  • Engage local employers and other providers
  • Develop workplace learning and flexible learning opportunities
  • Enhanced guidance provision
  • Generic, transferable skills
  • Integrating Literacy: literacy and numeracy supports
  • RPL

‘Guidelines for the Alignment of Further Education Programmes with Skills Needs of Enterprise’, Forfás, February 2012

challenges for training sector
Challenges for Training sector
  • Labour market intelligence
  • Alignment with local training needs
  • Review of apprenticeship (DES)
  • Certification
  • QA
  • Outcomes
solas action plan
SOLAS Action Plan
  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Functions
  • SOLAS Strategic Plan (6 month timeframe)
  • Definition of FET
  • A new vision
  • How will success be measured?
  • Structure of consultation process
  • Relationships
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities
des community education lcdp goal 2
DES Community Education & LCDP Goal 2
  • ‘The DES funds community education that is outside the formal education sector with the aims of enhancing learning, empowerment and contributing to civic society and it combines an emphasis on the civic, social and personal development of the individual with a focus on basic employability. This provision is community based with local groups taking responsibility for and playing a key role in organising courses and deciding on programme content.’ DES Community Education Guidelines, (2012)
  • ‘Increase access to formal and informal educational, recreational and cultural activities and resources’ LCDP Goal 2
  • Balancing ‘activation’ with ‘lifelong learning’
  • Increased numbers and demand
  • Changing educational profile of learners
  • Types of programmes and accreditation
  • Area appropriate supports
  • Interagency collaboration
  • Reduced capacity of providers and agencies (staffing and funding)
  • Referral systems
  • Enabling progression
  • Further exclusion of most marginalised
supporting education progression
Supporting Education Progression
  • Collaboration
  • Coordination
  • Additionality
  • Learners’ Forum
  • ‘Measuring the Wider Benefits of Learning’ (DES)
  • Kerry Education Service:

-Education & Training Directory for Adult Learners

-Future Skills Education & Training Needs Analysis

  • Continued consultation

‘What we are involved in is the most far reaching and fundamental reform of the further education and training sector the country has seen. It is a gargantuan task in change management that requires the co-operation, willingness and enthusiasm of everybody involved in further education and training… There is enthusiasm, energy, ambition and a willingness to provide the very best further education and training the country can provide and to put in place a system over which we can all stand and of which we can be proud.’

Minister Ciaran Cannon: Dail Eireann Debate. Vol.756 No. 4. Thursday, 23 February 2012